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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Good Great to drive, comfortable, low running costs and decent boot space

Against Only comes with five seats, could be bigger, some wind noise at speed.

Verdict One of the great all rounders. The C-Max is so easy to live with you might forget you're driving an MPV.

Go for… 1.6-litre

Avoid… 2.0-litre Auto

Ford C-Max MPV
  • 1. The 1.6-litre petrol engine with 98bhp is fine for driving in town, but will struggle when the car is fully laden and on fast roads.
  • 2. Some diesel engine problems have surfaced, usually with the turbo, along with potentially faulty alternators that need replacing.
  • 3. Random electrical gremlins can include boots that open by themselves, clocks that need resetting and errant electric window mechanisms.
  • 4. Road tax and insurance aren't steep, unless you buy a 2.0-litre petrol model, which emits 189g/km of CO2 and sits in insurance group 12.
  • 5. The diesels are far more economical: with the less powerful 1.6-litre 60.1mpg, the more-powerful 58.8mpg, the 1.8-litre 52.3mpg and the 2.0-litre 49.5mpg.
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Ford C-Max MPV full review with expert trade views

The Ford C-Max is more revamp than a complete reinterpretation - this model builds on the success of the original Focus C-Max ('03-'07), to become a great five-seat MPV.

Think of it as a Focus that's put on some pounds. It's almost as good to drive as the hatchback, with refined handling, plenty of grip and sharp steering. The ride is comfortable, with limited body roll on faster corners, yet it's able to absorb bumps and scars on uneven roads. Wind and road noise are also well contained.

Passenger space is generous in the front, and there's room for three in the back, although the middle seat is more restricted. The rear seats can also be removed to swell the decent boot to accommodate bulkier items.

All-round visibility is good, and there's an additional rear-facing mirror so you can keep an eye on the kids in the back. The cabin has a well laid-out and durable feel, with quality materials and sturdy construction.

Trade view

Smaller petrol models are the bargain buy for those with low annual mileages. Diesels make financial sense only if you do more than 12,000 miles per year

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 1.6-litre petrol engine with 98bhp is fine for driving in town, but will struggle when the car is fully laden and on fast roads. The 1.8-litre model with 123bhp is sprightly, and the 143bhp 2.0-litre comes only with an automatic gearbox.

Diesels make more sense if you drive lots of miles. The 1.6-litre with 88bhp will suit some, but for more power track down the 109bhp version, which is the better bet. There's a 113bhp 1.8-litre, which isn't notably faster and a 2.0-litre with 134bhp – best for high-speed motorway work. You can get an automatic gearbox only on the 2.0-litre versions of the diesels.

The entry-level Studio model is a little too basic, so aim higher if your purse allows. Style trim gets a CD player and air-con, but Zetec delivers better value, adding alloy wheels. Titanium trim adds finishing touches such as cruise control and auto lights and wipers. Look out for the Titanium X pack with leather seats, or the Sports X pack for a sporty trim and suspension.

Trade view

The MPV for people who don't like people-carriers. It's good looking, good to drive and not that big.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Petrol models are generally cheaper to buy, but the diesels have better resale values. The two 1.6- and the 1.8-litre petrol models deliver 40.9mpg, 39.8mpg and 35.3mpg respectively. The diesels are far more economical: with the less powerful 1.6-litre 60.1mpg, the more-powerful 58.8mpg, the 1.8-litre 52.3mpg and the 2.0-litre 49.5mpg.

Road tax and insurance aren't steep, unless you buy a 2.0-litre petrol model, which emits 189g/km of CO2 and sits in insurance group 12.

Depreciation is steep for the C-Max, making them a potentially good used buy, as long as you don't spend too much in the first place. Diesel models are slightly more expensive to service than petrol ones, but Ford garages aren't usually extortionate when it comes to labour rates.

Trade view

Smaller petrol models are the bargain buy for those with low annual mileages. Diesels make financial sense only if you do more than 12,000 miles per year

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The C-Max is no stranger to workshops, as a few problems have appeared over time.

Some diesel engine problems have surfaced, usually with the turbo, along with potentially faulty alternators that need replacing. Some cars can occasionally drop into limp-home mode. This is potentially due to a wide range of problems, and it will require a garage inspection.

The bonnet attracts stone chips, and can start to look scruffy after a year of driving, while cabin squeaks and small electrical faults have also been reported.

The C-Max is known for wearing its front tyres quickly, so check tread depth and condition. Random electrical gremlins can include boots that open by themselves, clocks that need resetting and errant electric window mechanisms.

Trade view

The MPV for people who don't like people-carriers. It's good looking, good to drive and not that big.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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